The Positive Power of Reframing Perceptions

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When we hear refrain, the concept sounds limiting. By its very definition according to Merriam-Webster dictionary, refrain is the action “to keep oneself from doing, feeling, or indulging in something and especially from following a passing impulse”. A form of restraint, refrain can create a longing or a fear of missing out.

We understand how communication and the words we choose can create positive relationships with others and ourselves. You can also apply positive communication to your recovery experience and choose words that may change negative thinking patterns.

While abstaining from drugs and alcohol takes a good deal of restraint, you can apply the idea of reframing to change how you look at drug and alcohol misuse and dependency.

Reframing the Focus

Reframing is a powerful Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) tool that challenges unhelpful thinking patterns. If new to this form of treatment, the American Psychological Association (APA) and many research studies suggest CBT can prove an effective measure for treating a wide range of issues, including alcohol and drug misuse.

CBT and reframing perceptions help activate change through evidence-based core principles. Through research and clinical practice, science shows that learned patterns and unhelpful ways of thinking and behaving create psychological problems and cognitive distortions. Through CBT, people can restructure thought patterns, learn better coping skills, and improve many areas of their life.

Begin Your Journey Towards Change

You may already know about the power of reframe and apply the concept to challenge negative or irrational thought processes. In ideal situations, a trained therapist or counselor can supply valuable tools and effective strategies for restructuring destructive thought and behavior patterns. Where cost, location, readiness, or other constraint affect access, there are some ways you can apply the self-help strategies of CBT at home.

The following includes cognitive and behavioral techniques provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). These self-directed tools taken from Seth Gillihan’s workbook, Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks, are designed for mild-to-moderate cases of depression and anxiety and can help you identify and challenge distorted thinking and behavior patterns. For those dealing with serious withdrawal symptoms or have thoughts of harming oneself or others, dial 911 for emergency help.

Identify thought patterns

Thought patterns are plastic and can change as we learn new information. When we discover how thoughts affect how we feel and how we react, we can question their validity.

When negative thought patterns arise, determine their accuracy. For instance, “I need drugs or alcohol at social events.” While you may hold a firm belief in this statement, it is untrue. Instead, say, “I do not need drugs or alcohol to have a good time on social occasions.”.

At first, these new statements may make you think you sound like a fraud. It may not feel or sound natural or who you think you really are. Reframing takes time and consistency, even when you don’t feel like it, is key to challenging untrue thoughts.

Increase self-awareness

Living on automatic may seem an easy way out, but can become counter-productive when making healthy, life-changing choices.

Once you can identify problem areas of thinking or behaving, stay in touch with your body and mind. Pay attention to physical sensations, overwhelming feelings, or negative self-talk. This connection can reduce automated thinking and reaction and improve self-awareness.

With increased self-awareness, you can catch negative patterns and challenge their validity as they arise.

Reframe untrue thinking and destructive behavior patterns

Reshaping destructive patterns can help reframe perception and how we react. And while this may seem straightforward, this process takes a lot of effort and perseverance.

Forming new healthful habits can take time and can look different from person to person. You may find some patterns easy to kick while others have a much more deep-rooted place. It’s important to remember reframing is not a race and allowing yourself grace during the process.

While questing destructive patterns, identify values and boundaries. These can help uncover the untruths behind negative thoughts and how we identify ourselves.

Refrain and Reframe with Pura Vida

Pura Vida drug and alcohol rehabilitation program in Santa Rosa, CA helps men and women overcome addiction. Our specialists provide a holistic outpatient treatment program that addresses the whole person, including co-occurring mental health disorders.

To help reframe your relationship with drugs and alcohol, contact us today.